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Team USA's Katie Ledecky celebrates after winning the final of the women's 1,500m freestyle swimming event during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Tokyo Aquatics Centre in Tokyo on Wednesday. Photo: Attila Kisbenedek/AFP via Getty Images)

Katie Ledecky took home the Olympic gold medal in the women's 1,500-meter freestyle swimming race Tuesday night ET, becoming the first female swimmer to win the newly added division. Team USA's Erica Sullivan won silver.

Of note: The Tokyo Games mark the first time that the long-distance race has been open to women, and Ledecky paid tribute to her predecessors after the race. "I just think of all the great U.S. swimmers who didn’t have a chance to swim that event," she said on NBC.

  • The race's inclusion is part of an effort to make the Games more gender-equal "by incorporating new events for women and more mixed-gender teams in various sports," per ABC News.
  • Since it was the first time the race had taken place at the Olympics, her time automatically set an Olympic record, per the Washington Post.

The big picture: Ledecky is the women's 1500m world record holder and held the 11 fastest times ever going into the event at the Olympics.

  • She dominated the 1500m in the event's heats. Earlier in the day, Ledecky finished fifth in the 200m freestyle race.
  • "I just wanted to get the job done tonight," Ledecky said on NBC. "It was really tough with the 200, but I just moved the page forward."

Editor's note: This article has been updated with comment from Ledecky.

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Nov 3, 2021 - Sports

How race and gender impact sports fandom

Broadcast video (L) compared to animated rendering. Courtesy: SportLogiq

Sports commentary is riddled with unconscious bias, and a new study shows just how drastically race and gender can impact fandom.

The study: Using tracking technology that can capture how players move their limbs, researchers produced two-dimensional renderings to determine what soccer looks like when you can't see who's playing.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court rejects Trump's attempt to shield documents from Jan. 6 committee

Photo: Melissa Sue Gerrits/Getty Images

The Supreme Court rejected on Wednesday night a bid by former President Trump to block the release of documents and records from his administration to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.

Why it matters: Trump asked the Supreme Court to step in and block the release of the documents last month after a panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously denied his attempt to prevent the committee from obtaining the materials.

Senate Republicans block voting rights bill

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell walks to the Senate floor on Jan. 18. Photo: Eric Lee/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Republicans blocked Democrats' voting rights legislation from coming to a final vote on Wednesday in what was largely viewed as a doomed effort from the start.

Why it matters: The failed vote underscores the Democratic Party's current uphill battle to pass sweeping legislation in a 50-50 Senate.